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Cablegate: Egyptian Government and Civil Society Promote

VZCZCXRO8193
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHHM RUEHKUK RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #1448/01 1370944
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170944Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5227
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 001448

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/ELA, OES FOR CARTER-FOSTER, ECA FOR GOMEZ
AMMAN FOR WHITTLESEY
USAID/ANE/TS FOR CAVITT AND CAPACCI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ELTN AID UNGA WHO EG
SUBJECT: EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY PROMOTE
GLOBAL ROAD SAFETY WEEK

REF: A. A) STATE 15184
B. B) CAIRO 709

1. Summary. Government of Egypt and civil society
representatives hosted two successful events in recognition
of the first United Nations Global Road Safety Week, April
23-29. Several hundred participants attended events at the
World Health Organization's regional office on April 22, and
an exhibition at the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) on
April 23, focusing on the theme of young road users. Embassy
Cairo continues to engage with the GOE and other players on
traffic safety issues via USAID assistance and other
technical assistance programs. End summary.

--------------------------------------------
WHO AND MOT EVENTS AIMED AT YOUNG ROAD USERS
--------------------------------------------

2. The World Health Organization in Cairo, based out of its
Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office, hosted an event on
April 22 in honor of United National Global Road Safety
Week, April 23-29 (ref A). The event, organized in
conjunction with civil society and private sector partners,
including participation from the Ministries of Health,
Education, and Transportation, focused on "Young Road Users."
Road accidents are the leading cause of death for people
aged 10 to 24. Several hundred young participants from the
Arab Scouts, and local schools and universities heard traffic
safety messages from UN and health officials. Popular
Egyptian stars and UN Goodwill Ambassadors Yousra and Khalid
Abou Naga, in addition to Egyptian road rally champion Abd
Al-Hamid Abou Yousef, brought added media attention to the
event.

3. On April 23, officials from the MOT's General Authority
for Roads, Bridges, and Land Transportation (GARBLT) hosted
an exhibition showcasing various public and private sector
initiatives on traffic safety. Exhibitors included British
Gas, Shell, Exxon Mobil, the Safe Road Society, and local
rotary clubs. A representative from the reform-minded GARBLT
recently told Econoff they are now soliciting bids to
overhaul the notoriously dangerous Cairo-Alexandria desert
road, which should be completed by 2010 (ref B).

-------------------
SOBERING STATISTICS
-------------------

4. While MOT figures estimate 6000 people are killed and
30,000 are injured on Egyptian roads annually, the second
highest cause of death after heart disease according to the
GOE, WHO experts say the real figures are likely much higher.
Worldwide, traffic accidents are the primary cause of
hospitalization for people aged 15-40. In addition to the
high toll on human life, road accidents also put a strain on
the economy. WHO estimates road accidents cost Egypt between
USD 520 and USD 1 billion annually, significantly higher than
other countries in the region.

------------------------------------------
EMBASSY INVOLVEMENT IN TRAFFIC INITIATIVES
------------------------------------------

5. In addition to serving on a national multi-sectoral
committee to plan events for Global Road Safety Week, post
has been involved in a number of initiatives to encourage a
culture of safe driving. The USAID supported children's
television show "Alam Sim Sim" or "Sesame Street", which
began airing on Egyptian television in August 2000,
incorporated a traffic safety component into its programming.
The show's programmers' trained 42,000 caregivers and
mothers on traffic safety via their Parental Outreach
Program. In 2006, USAID provided funding to the Safe Road
Society, the only local traffic safety NGO, to create a
traffic safety website, CD of games for youth, and a public
awareness campaign.

6. Embassy Cairo also planned and sponsored two trips in
2006 to Egypt for traffic safety expert Rochelle Sobel,
founder of the Association for Safe International Road Travel
(ASIRT). In February 2006, Sobel spoke at a road management
conference in Cairo, and engaged with local rotary groups,
encouraging them to pursue traffic safety projects. She
returned in September 2006, to inaugurate the Nasr City
rotary club's projects: traffic safety awareness camps for

CAIRO 00001448 002 OF 002


youth and the installation of black boxes into several school
and tourist buses.

7. Post also suggested the creation of a new International
Visitor Leadership Program category for 2008 on traffic
safety. Two engineers from the Ministry of Transportation
have been nominated to participate in a proposed program
which will include learning about the engineering aspects of
traffic safety. We will continue to engage with GOE, civil
society, and private sector partners on traffic safety.
RICCIARDONE

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